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9 Dec 2019

On 2-6 December 2019, under the auspices of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Ombudsman), a five-day training seminar was held in Tashkent region on the topic "Prevention of torture and other ill-treatment and punishment: international standards and practices." The seminar was attended by staff of the Ombudsman's Secretariat, its regional representatives and members of civil society.

According to amendments and additions to the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the Authorized Person for Human Rights of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Ombudsman)" of 14 March 2019, "the Authorized Person takes measures to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment through regular visits to places of detention."

These changes provide for the establishment of an expert group within the Ombudsman, which is formed from representatives of non-governmental non-profit organizations with relevant professional and practical knowledge. The event was aimed at facilitating the implementation of the new mandate of the Ombudsman in close cooperation with representatives of civil society.

Experts at the seminar were Vice-Chairman of the United Nations Subcommittee against Torture, member of the Coordinating Council of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the NPM, member of the UN Committee against Torture and expert on the NPM from the Kyrgyz Republic.

During the seminar, participants learned from international experts about international standards to combat torture, discussed the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), heard about the experience of establishing national preventive mechanisms in Central Asia, and learned about basic principles of human rights monitoring.

During the practical exercises, the participants applied the newly acquired knowledge and skills in planning and conducting preventive monitoring visits to various places of restriction of liberty, discussed approaches to the preparation of reports on the results of visits and outlined the next steps to implement the new mandate of the Commissioner for the Prevention of Torture.

The seminar was organized with the support of the Office of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, the United Nations Office for Human Rights in Central Asia (OHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia) and the Regional Office of the International Prison Reform (PRI) in Central Asia. International organizations supporting the seminar expressed hope for further cooperation with the Ombudsman in 2020 in order to ensure the effective implementation of his preventive mandate to prevent torture.

Following the seminar, the participants were awarded certificates.

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